It was more of the same at Newfoundland Growlers Training Camp on Day Three in Mississauga, Ontario.
Yesterday’s scrimmage is ancient history as the squad again split into two groups to begin hammering down systems and line combinations before tomorrow’s preseason debut against the Brampton Beast at the Cassie Campbell Centre at 8:00PM ET/9:30 NT.
The bus pulled into Paramount Fine Foods Centre two hours before the first group was scheduled to hit the ice, so several of the players began to go about their daily routines.
Growlers rookie Riley Woods had his routine altered slightly as he hovered near the table saw that players will use to cut their sticks.
“This is the loudest saw in all of hockey,” he said with a laugh.
He wasn’t wrong. Not only was this thing obnoxiously loud, it sent a thick cloud of carbon fibre dust into the air, covering the table and surrounding equipment with a thin layer of black dust.
“I think I’ll use the hand saw tomorrow.”
There was a buzz around everyone in the organization on Wednesday, as the night before, the Growlers parent club, the Toronto Maple Leafs dismantled the Ottawa Senators on opening night of NHL action.
With several Growlers having attended Maple Leafs camp with the big guns in St. John’s last month, there was a shared sense of pride among the squad, with dreams of making the NHL feeling just a little closer and a little more attainable on Wednesday.
Even though everyone was pumped the Leafs picked up the two points, there were a couple of Growlers who were rooting for a former teammate who picked up his first NHL goal against the Leafs as a member of the Ottawa Senators last night.
When Scott Sabourin, made famous (or maybe infamous?) by Auston Matthews having to look over his shoulder to read his jersey nameplate, tucked in his first NHL goal, Newfoundlanders James Melindy and Zach O’Brien both let out a (little) cheer. Both Melindy and O’Brien played with Sabourin during their AHL days, Melindy with the San Diego Gulls and O’Brien with the Manchester Monarchs.
It was neat to see that, even though our Growler boys bleed Maple Leaf blue and white, they can still get excited for an old friend reaching the top of his game. (Plus the Leafs got the last laugh, winning 5-3).
I spent the duration of practice scrambling around the rink, gathering footage for our daily videos. Once I filled my phone (again) with new content for the day, I headed back to the locker room to unload my haul and start in on another task, adding names and numbers to the Growlers official roster page for tomorrow’s preseason matchup.
As I was painstakingly going through every player and every jersey number, I noticed one number was wrong.
I asked our equipment manager if this was a typo, and he told me no.
So when I bumped into returning defenseman Garrett Johnston, I had to ask him myself.
“Johnny, I hear you’re changing numbers to number three! Why the change?”
“I always used to wear number three! Plus, 48 is a callup number!”
Bonus points go to any reader who can recall the two Growlers who wore the number three last season (no Googling!).
On the first two days of our training camp blog, I, for whatever reason, ended up shouting out different wardrobe items worn by different players on the first two days of camp, and unfortunately, that streak will come to an end, as today, all the players wore normal, boring clothing.
I did, however, take particular notice to defensemen Evan Neugold’s hair. (That felt strange to type).
“Neugs, the flow is looking mighty!” I quipped, as he slicked his mane back to put on his helmet.
“Thanks Bals,” he chuckled at my random observation. “It’s funny you mention that, I always thought my hair looked good even under my helmet, so I decided I’m going to grow it out this season.”
So there you have it folks. When you notice a smooth-skating defenseman jumping into the play with a Guy Lafleur-esque shoulder-length mop flowing in the breeze after Christmas, remember who told you first.
And with that, we conclude our blog from Day Three of Training Camp.
Don’t forget, tomorrow, Friday, October 4, the Growlers kick off their preseason schedule against the Brampton Beast. I will be live on the air with the call of tomorrow night’s game on Mixlr, so make sure you tune in at mixlr.com/NLGrowlers.
See you tomorrow!